The Beckett Blog

George Steinbrenner’s Signature of Approval by Tracy Hackler

I’ve been blessed with the tremendous opportunity to work on countless cool projects in my more than 11 years with Beckett Media. To this day, though, arguably the most enjoyable was Beckett Elite, a magazine I helped launch from scratch back in 2006.

(Coincidentally, perhaps, Beckett Elite also ranks as one of the shortest-lived titles we’ve ever produced).

But it was a super-premium thrill ride while it lasted, which turned out to be just 10 issues. Beckett Elite was an award-winning critical success that gained acclaim for its rich content, elegant presentation and unmatched coverage of the high-end sports and Americana memorabilia auction industry.

The magazine was recognized in November of 2006 by Min Magazine and Dr. Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni as one of the 15 Hottest Magazine Launches of 2006. In March of 2007 it was recognized again, this time with the inaugural Nichee Award for Best Design at the premiere Niche Magazine Conference.

While those accolades remain tremendous sources of pride around these parts, they pale in comparison to the recognition Beckett Elite received in May of 2006 from someone far more influential, prestigious, awe-inspiring and, well, legendary.

When we launched Beckett Elite in the spring of 2006, it was a controlled-circulation magazine (strategic distribution to a selective recipient list) geared toward the well-heeled sports memorabilia enthusiast. In addition, we sent copies of the magazine to the more than 150 professional sports team owners in North America.

Only one bothered to respond: George M. Steinbrenner III.

Indeed, the ship-building visionary who transformed the New York Yankees from an $8.8 million purchase in 1973 into a billion-dollar empire got our magazine in the mail and, in return, took the time to write me a letter of response. It was a completely unexpected and inexplicably cool gesture.

In the letter, Steinbrenner thanked me for sending him the premiere issue of Beckett Elite — which, by the way, included Babe Ruth on the cover — and for adding him to the subscription list.

“Publishing a magazine to cover the billion-dollar sports auction industry is a capital idea and I wish you a great deal of success,” he wrote.

Coming from the man whose countless capital ideas helped create the most recognizable sports franchise on the planet, that meant a lot. These days, it means even more.

Tracy Hackler is the editorial director for Beckett Media. Have a comment or question? Send an e-mail to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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